Skip to content

    Sexual Conditions Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Antibiotics for Chlamydia

    Examples

    Generic Name Brand Name
    amoxicillin
    azithromycin Zithromax
    doxycycline Doryx, Vibramycin
    erythromycin E-Base, Erythrocin
    levofloxacin Levaquin
    ofloxacin Floxin

    How It Works

    Antibiotics kill the chlamydia bacteria.

    Why It Is Used

    Antibiotics are given to:

    • People who have positive chlamydia tests.
    • Sex partners within the last 60 days of people diagnosed with chlamydia-even if they do not have symptoms.
    • Newborns of women who have chlamydia at the time of delivery.

    All of these medicines are prescribed for men and for women who are not pregnant. Pregnant women can take only erythromycin, amoxicillin, and azithromycin. Only erythromycin is given to babies.

    How Well It Works

    Antibiotic treatment, if taken exactly as directed, normally cures chlamydia infections. If antibiotics are not taken properly, the infection will not be cured.

    The number of days you take antibiotics depends on your illness and the type of antibiotic medicine. Azithromycin and doxycycline cure chlamydia in up to 95 out of 100 cases. Some people may not be able to take these medicines but are able to take a different one.1

    Side Effects

    All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.

    Here are some important things to think about:

    • Usually the benefits of the medicine are more important than any minor side effects.
    • Side effects may go away after you take the medicine for a while.
    • If side effects still bother you and you wonder if you should keep taking the medicine, call your doctor. He or she may be able to lower your dose or change your medicine. Do not suddenly quit taking your medicine unless your doctor tells you to.

    Call911or other emergency services right away if you have:

    Call your doctor if you have:

    • Hives.
    • Irregular or slow heart rate.
    • Severe belly pain or cramps.
    • Unusual tiredness or weakness.
    • Fever.
    • Sudden pain or swelling around your legs, shoulders, or hands.

    Common side effects of these medicines include:

    See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

    What To Think About

    Taking medicine

    Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.

    There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.

    Doxycycline, levofloxacin, and ofloxacin

    These medicines can make your skin more sensitive to the sun.

    • Stay out of the sun, if possible.
    • Wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and hats, if possible.
    • Use sunscreen with an SPF that your doctor recommends.

    Advice for women

    Amoxicillin, azithromycin, and erythromycin

    If you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant, do not use any medicines unless your doctor tells you to. Some medicines can harm your baby. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements. And make sure that all your doctors know that you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant.

    Doxycycline, levofloxacin, and ofloxacin

    Women who use this medicine during pregnancy have a slightly higher chance of having a baby with birth defects. If you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant, you and your doctor must weigh the risks of using this medicine against the risks of not treating your condition.

    Checkups

    Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

    Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.

    Citations

    1. Horner P (2010). Chlamydia (uncomplicated, genital), search date September 2009. Online version of BMJ Clinical Evidence: http://www.clinicalevidence.com.

    ByHealthwise Staff
    Primary Medical ReviewerSarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
    Specialist Medical ReviewerDevika Singh, MD, MPH - Infectious Disease

    Current as ofNovember 14, 2014

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 14, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

    Today on WebMD

    couple kissing
    See pictures and get the facts.
    husband taking prescription painkillers
    13 things that can kill your sex drive.
     
    close up of cold sore
    How to stop them from spreading.
    Condom Quiz
    What are the symptoms?
     

    HIV Myth Facts
    Slideshow
    STD Overview
    Slideshow
     
    Man tearing a condom packet
    Quiz
    things your guy wish you knew slideshow
    Slideshow
     

    Thoughtful man sitting on bed
    Quiz
    Girls Puberty 10
    Quiz
     
    Couple in bed
    Article
    Young couple holding hands
    Quiz